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Cancer Control: Knowledge into Action: WHO Guide for Effective Programmes: Module 6: Policy and Advocacy. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2008.

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Cancer Control: Knowledge into Action: WHO Guide for Effective Programmes: Module 6: Policy and Advocacy.

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Clear goals and specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) objectives need to be formulated at the beginning of any advocacy work. These should be based on the analysis of the cancer situation and the availability of resources (see Advocacy step 1).

A long-term goal of any comprehensive cancer control programme is to reduce cancer incidence and mortality and improve quality of life. A well-planned and well-executed advocacy plan will play a key role in achieving this goal by driving forward the necessary policy and programmatic changes. A good advocacy plan responds to identified needs, builds on opportunities and overcomes barriers to comprehensive cancer control.

The following are examples of short- and medium-term advocacy objectives that can act as incremental steps in the overall development and implementation of a comprehensive cancer control plan:

  • to increase cancer awareness among influential groups and the public;
  • to reduce stigma and fear of cancer in the low socioeconomic groups;
  • to engage and mobilize key stakeholders within the cancer community who will champion the development and implementation of a comprehensive national cancer control plan and its components;
  • to progressively expand advocacy groups, including community volunteers and patients groups, to cover all the regions or provinces of the country;
  • to promote the value of comprehensive cancer control and the need for developing policies and programmes;
  • to launch a simplified version of the comprehensive cancer control plan and disseminate it widely to the media and the lay public using attractive messages;
  • to promote the effective and equitable implementation of key priority (core) interventions;
  • to mobilize resources to support the implementation of key priority (core) interventions;
  • to maintain the involvement of decision-makers and the public profile of cancer control by disseminating information on achievements to date and future challenges.

If levels of cancer awareness are low, and fear and stigma are high, it may well be necessary, at least initially, to focus on the education and empowerment of influential individuals or groups who can then act as societal models, mobilize communities and resources, and influence the demand for change. In certain communities, trained community leaders, including traditional healers, and real-life testimonies from patients, family members and caregivers, can often play a vital role in raising cancer awareness and reducing the stigma and fear of cancer.

Successful advocacy starts with strategy and moves to tactics. Your strategy is the larger mission, the overall map that guides the use of tactical tools towards clear goals. Start by clarifying your bigger goals and then select your tactics.

Copyright © World Health Organization 2008.

All rights reserved. Publications of the World Health Organization can be obtained from WHO Press, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland (tel.: +41 22 791 3264; fax: +41 22 791 4857; e-mail: tni.ohw@sredrokoob). Requests for permission to reproduce or translate WHO publications – whether for sale or for noncommercial distribution – should be addressed to WHO Press, at the above address (fax: +41 22 791 4806; e-mail: tni.ohw@snoissimrep).

Bookshelf ID: NBK195424


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